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Crown Royal XO – picked this out of the Christmas exchange at work – thanks Matt!

Our third Crown Royal and the first from their Master Series, the XO is a Cognac barrel aged expression of a “blend from 50 of our finest whiskies”. The Master series includes blends with as few as three whiskies, but this has the most! Yay?

The XO in the name is not in reference to kisses and hugs in a card from your grandma, but rather to a grade of Cognac, the second from the top, to be precise. I think it used to be the highest, but now the grades go VS (Very Special, 2y in wood) or 3 Stars, VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) or Reserve, XO (Extra Old) or Napoleon, and Hors D’Age (beyond old). The grades for this French liquor is in English because of how much they bought, the English being fans of other people’s booze.

Cognac is, of course, a brandy, and brandy is distilled wine. And we don’t have the best track record with wine barrel-aged whiskies. And unfortunately, this is no different. Here’s what we thought:

nose
Dan – really fake caramel with marshmallow & nail polish removers
Simon – red & purple candies, artificial, dusty

neat
Dan – less syrupy than regular Crown, bland and uninteresting, nutty, tastes like what it smells like but less so
Simon – v smooth, not much to it, waxy chocolate

finish
Dan – bleh – none
Simon – short & bitter

splash
Dan – i actually cringed, two/three day old expired caramelized onion
Simon – thin, sharper, bitter

overall
Dan – 3/10
Simon – 4/10

Crown Royal XO – 40% 750ml – $64.95 – Manitoba

Try it? No. Buy it? No.

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